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If you are among the people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, finding hiking spots near your home is a never-ending task. Whether you are looking for new hiking spots or just moved into a new neighborhood, you don’t have to halt your passion for hiking just because you don’t know new hiking spots. Below are a few ways to help you locate the best hikes near your home.
1. Consult Search Engines
One of the first places you look when searching for anything is Google. With a myriad of information on numerous subjects, you will get the answers you need about hiking locations near you when you type your search query in the search bar. Be sure to include your location when searching to get relevant results.
While it is common to only look at the first page of Google, don’t shy away from exploring the subsequent pages as you can stumble upon valuable information. During your search, input hiking terms that are specific to your needs, like “nature trails/ nature hikes in the best neighborhoods in San Antonio.” For example, if you want a hiking spot with waterfalls or a cave, you can include the terms in your search query. The more specific you are in your search, the higher your chances of getting what you want.
2. Ask the Locals
The best way to find the best hikes near your home is by consulting people who’ve lived there before you. Ask the residents, such as your neighbors, friends, and family, for recommendations on hiking trails. Since locals have an in-depth understanding of the area, you will also get information on areas not to explore due to reasons like terrains, safety, or those not worth your while. Also, the locals are more likely to have hiked before and will give you all the information you need to know. These include the terrain, what to expect, and how to prepare for your adventure.
Besides your neighbors, check with a local tourism board or visitor’s center. Most places have them to promote outdoor activities. Other options include outdoor shops such as stores that focus on hiking shoes, biking shops, and fishing shops. Even if you don’ plan to go fishing, a shop specializing in fishing supplies usually has employees who know the ins and outs of the outdoor lifestyle. The good thing about asking the locals is that you get access to the information you wouldn’t get on online websites.
3. Use Social Media
Social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are excellent avenues to connect with similar-minded individuals who love outdoor activities. With this in mind, you can search for hiking spots in social media groups specific to your location. If you don’t want to join a Facebook hiking group, use the Facebook search bar to locate trails near you. Just like Google, Facebook will show results based on your search query, as well as location.
Pinterest and YouTube are also excellent sources of hikes information. You can also check hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and use keywords like “hiking” or “hiking trails” with your location to find recommendations. Since most people share information online, you can follow ongoing conversations that will give you insight into the best hikes in your locality.
4. Trail Apps
Trail apps are a great way to find the best hikes near your home as they are tailored to provide the information you need. Numerous outdoor apps exist to show you hiking trails in different states and regions. The good thing about most of these apps is that you can download them on your phone to avoid losing the trail when offline.
AllTrails is among the best hiking apps for finding new trails near your home as it has a rich database of hikes. You also get access to reviews and ratings, and you can leave reports about yours. Also, the app provides information about the condition of the trails, paths, and directions. AllTrails categorizes hiking trails according to difficulty, which makes your search easier. Other options include Hiking Project, TrailFork, Peakfinder, and Strava.
5. Google Maps and Google Earth Pro
Besides checking the Google search engine, Google maps can go a long way in showing you hiking spots near your home. Type in your location and watch out for green clustered or connected areas on the map. Usually, the green spots signify conservation areas, parks, or forests. Once you locate them, zoom in to learn what they are and whether you can consider them for a hike.
Google Earth Pro is a more advanced resource that shows you the topographical map of your location. Zoom in on areas of interest to study the terrain of the forests and mountains in 3D. You can also set a timeline to see the position of the moon and sun at a given period. Doing so allows you to plan for your hikes adequately.
Other places to find hikes include government websites, local tour companies, hiking books, and magazines. You can also find ideas on websites belonging to national forests, state parks, and national parks. Not that hiking without proper planning can ruin your outdoor experience. Therefore, ensure you research the hiking spots and prepare adequately for an enjoyable adventure.